The Federal Government (FG) has suspended all the flights of Emirates Airlines into the country in response to the Nigeria Specific Rule of Airport Rapid Antigen test four hours Before Flight to be carried out by the airline. FG had frowned at the targeting of only Nigerians for this test.
Dubai Airport had released a circular allowing only passengers flying Emirates into the airport. The decision banned other airlines from carrying passengers to Dubai from Nigeria. This created a monopoly and immediate price hike for the travellers who had to cancel their flights on other airlines to buy Emirates Airlines tickets.
The FG had insisted on the 72-hour PCR test.
In a letter signed by the to the Country Manager of Emirates Airlines, singed by the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, titled Suspension of Emirates Airlines Operations to Nigeria, the Nigerian civil aviation regulatory body said: “It has been brought to the attention of the Presidential Taskforce of COVID-19 (PTF) that Emirates Airlines has continued to airlift passengers from Nigeria using the Rapid Antigen Tests (RDT) conducted by laboratories that are neither approved nor authorized by the appropriate regulatory bodies.
“This is a violation of paragraph of paragraph 5 of NCAA letter with RE: NCAA/DG/AIR11/16/281 0f 02 February 2021 addressed to yourself. The paragraph clearly states, “Based on the foregoing and to enable the Nigerian Government to put in place the needed infrastructure and logistics for COVID-19 RDT testing for de[parting passengers, the PTF has directed that Emirates Airlines should either accept passengers without RDT pending when the infrastructure and logistic are put in place or suspend its flights to and from Nigeria until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics are fully established and implemented.”
The letter said Emirates Airlines had not complied with the two options given by the PTF as records obtained from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) indicates that Emirates Airlines had operated flights in violation of the directive.
As at the time of this report, Emirates Airlines has nor reacted to the development.